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-   -   Can the small salon survive (http://tantalk.com/tanning-salon-management/2343866-can-small-salon-survive.html)

Grandpa 02-23-2005 11:43 AM

In this day and age of the "mega" salons, is their still room for a newly built 6-8 bed salon to survive. I'm not looking to be the next Warren Buffet or Donald Trump, only to earn a nice living.

sunnie side up 02-23-2005 11:58 AM

customer service is the # 1 seller if your great with people then you may do better than the big salons . Oh and make sure it's clean

ramcat 02-23-2005 12:03 PM

I've got a 7 bed salon and I'm doing just fine. Provide the customer service and you'll be ahead.

Kay 02-23-2005 12:10 PM

Offer something the big boys donít. We do body wraps and have an all-natural skincare line. Also you might want to look into a private label lotion line.

Soakinuptherays 02-23-2005 12:15 PM

110% YES!!!


Focus on the critical things:

1) Make sure you offer a great tan!
You do not have to have the best coolest looking beds, you do need to have great lamps that deliver a tan! The reality is beds are simply power sources for lamps!

2) Have great customer service!
You are an owner/operator, you will always be better than some hourly employee for a mega chain. Act that way! Make it personal!

3) Keep your overhead low!
You do not have unlimited capital. Think 3 times before spending every dollar. What can you do for less or do yourself.

4) Do not complete with the Mega salons.
Try not to sell the same lotions, they can buy them for less than you can. Your personal sales efforts will only send your customers to buy the same product from the mega salon at a lower price. Do not complete with them on tanning prices, you can not win. Set your price and live with it. Be happy it's yours!

dcjjp2 02-23-2005 12:17 PM

I agree with the additional services/products. One thing that we can all learn from the big boys is the big boy mentality, without losing the individual owner charm of a small business. I operate my business like I used to run my territory for the Limited Inc. when I worked for them responsible for close to 20 million dollars per year. You have to think big to get big. Just don't lose sight of what got you there. Your customers.

JeffinKC 02-23-2005 12:18 PM

Small salons have certain advantages over chains/franchises. You are not tied to any one lotion or equipment line. You can be competetive by offering niche products and services that they don't. You are able to give the customer better service and offer a more friendly/family atmoshere.


caribbeansun01 02-23-2005 12:37 PM

SUnnie Side Up & Ramcat are right. THese big boy salons lose the customer service and personal feel to a tanning session. They are all about the money, in and out attitude. The smaller salons offer more personal touches. Something like, "how was that vacation last month", "how did your daughter perform in the play last night", "is your eczema getting any better now that you've been tanning?" They may sound stupid out of context, but when you are building a rapport with tanners, they are vital to making small salons survive. Word of mouth spreads that you are the nicest and cleanest salon around, slowly but surely they will come flocking to your doors. If I wouldn't want to be treated like another client in a database so I wouldn't treat our customers that way. Remember names, faces, what type of bed they like, what lotions they like and your business will be better than the big boys.

My hairdresser tells me all the time that she enjoys our salon much better than "XYZ" down the street. We are much cleaner, our place is so much cuter, the girls know what they're talking about and she doesn't have to deal with the rudness at other salons. Big boy salons cheap you in a sense. My hairdresser went to "XYZ" down the street because someone got her a gift card. She had $60 on the card. She purchased a week and a packet of lotion. THe next time she came in, she only had $15 left. IT turns out that the girl working the counter had charged her gift card more money so that she could purchase a lotion. Unbelievable! I wouldn't have even thought that up. Big boys rip you off all around sometimes.

BEACH_BUM 02-23-2005 01:08 PM

We are a 6 bed salon and we can compete. Customer service is #1 priority w/ us. I have a lot of people who come to us after visiting mega salons where they work because the service stinks. I care about my customers and try to run a professional, friendly salon where people can pamper themselves and relax. You do not have to have a huge salon to be successful.

SunQuest91 02-23-2005 01:20 PM

I am the proud owner of a 3 bed salon, 4th bed is on its way, and I am earning lots of the competitions clients by TAKING CARE OF MY CLIENTS. I open on time every time, my salon is ultra clean and I get to know my clients on a personal level. I am not getting rich, but I am making a living. Word of mouth is the best advertisement I have.

SunQuest91

Jeni and Mike 02-23-2005 01:50 PM

SpaminKC,

You are the first salon owner I have seen actually promote a product in their tag line other than thier own salon. Can you get paid for doing this? I would add the ITS tag to my sig for $$$$ cut me in.

Vendors please pm me I would be happy to spam for a discount or something did not know it was possible.

_________________
[ This Message was edited by: Jeni and Mike on 2005-02-23 12:51 ]

ramcat 02-23-2005 02:04 PM

Careful...He'll say the address under my kat is the same. What he doesn't know is that that is the name of my salon too.

JeffinKC 02-23-2005 03:01 PM

The address under your Kat is not for your salon now is it? It is for a booth that you are selling for a profit...aka spam.

Jeni, I couldn't tell you if its possible to make money this way or not, I don't make a dime. Since everyone is so concerned I would like to clarify that I do not get kickbacks or discounts for promoting any company.

You see I was around in the begining when these sites were started. They were started for salon owners to come together and exchage ideas and yes product recomendations. In the last couple of years the sites, particularly this one has become an outlet for vendors to spam their products without restrictions.

I don't believe website addresses should be allowed at all but what is fair for one should be fair for another. I also do not believe these vendors should be allowed to spam at all unless they step up and support the site in question with banner advertising. This has become an all too easy and free way to sell your wares in my opinion.

You see I promote products I like and believe in and do not ask or expect anything in return I'm sorry if you have a problem with that. I have already said I have no problem removing it as soon as all others comply.

JeffinKC 02-23-2005 03:01 PM

The address under your Kat is not for your salon now is it? It is for a booth that you are selling for a profit...aka spam.

Jeni, I couldn't tell you if its possible to make money this way or not, I don't make a dime. Since everyone is so concerned I would like to clarify that I do not get kickbacks or discounts for promoting any company.

You see I was around in the begining when these sites were started. They were started for salon owners to come together and exchage ideas and yes product recomendations. In the last couple of years the sites, particularly this one has become an outlet for vendors to spam their products without restrictions.

I don't believe website addresses should be allowed at all but what is fair for one should be fair for another. I also do not believe these vendors should be allowed to spam at all unless they step up and support the site in question with banner advertising. This has become an all too easy and free way to sell your wares in my opinion.

You see I promote products I like and believe in and do not ask or expect anything in return I'm sorry if you have a problem with that. I have already said I have no problem removing it as soon as all others comply.

Jeni and Mike 02-23-2005 04:09 PM

Wow Jeff, I don't have a problem at all I just wanted to get in on the idea. So you have one of their machines I see. Still it seams unusual, have your ever done that (used a tag) for any of the tanning beds you have in your salon, or lotions you sell?

TotalEclipse 02-23-2005 04:45 PM

Hey everyone...I could be wrong, but it looks like most of you think that you have to be small to provide good customer service, to remember their names and faces, to remember they just came home from vacation, etc. I would certainly hope that is not the case. We are getting to the lower 400s in tanner count per day right now, and we are able to recognize the majority of our tanners by name/face, remember small details that they share with us, etc. I completely agree with you that a good portion of the chains/franchises do lose that personal touch, but it is not the case with all big salons. Maybe it's because we're not a franchise....don't know...just wanted to add my .02

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[ This Message was edited by: TotalEclipse on 2005-02-24 21:26 ]

dcjjp2 02-24-2005 12:28 PM

TotalEclipse, all I was saying is that the big franchises mostly offer poor customer service. You are a stand alone salon that has the size of the big chains but the service of a boutique salon. More large salons and franchises should follow your lead. Keep up the good work!

fashiontan 02-24-2005 12:55 PM

I went into a large franchise a while back and got excellent customer service--as soon as the gum chewing, lip smacking teenager behind the counter got done arguing with her boyfriend on the phone.

SunQuest91 02-24-2005 01:04 PM

Quote:
On 2005-02-23 15:45:00, TotalEclipse wrote:
Hey everyone...I could be wrong, but it looks like most of you think that you have to be small to provide good customer service, to remember their names and faces, to remember they just came home from vacation, etc. I would certainly hope that is not the case. We are getting to the lower 400s in tanner count per day right now, and we are able to recognize the majority of our tanners by name/face, remember small details that they share with us, etc. I completely agree with you that a good portion of the chains/franchises do lose that personal touch, but it is not the case with all big salons. Maybe it's because we're not a franchise....don't know...just wanted to add me .02


I wanted to apologize if I gave that impression. I truly did not mean to imply that the larger salons do not give as much as smaller salons. I was commenting that I do believe that small salons can compete and survive.

I am glad that you do so well in your salon, I don't know that I could keep up with that many people and not go crazy.....but I am willing to try : )

SunQuest91

ramcat 02-24-2005 01:33 PM

Jeff...My salon is called Celebrity Tan like I said. However, the site is for the booth, but that is all that is under my name. I don't have any statements like yours...

JeffinKC 02-24-2005 01:54 PM

This topic isn't about us.....
However.......so it isn't for your salon as you seemed to imply? You have used the address in your signature line to continue and spam your booth. I don't think either should be allowed but we shouldn't be selective on this should we? At least I am promoting a product from a banner advertiser.....by the way when are you going to pay to spam?

DWhite6872 02-25-2005 12:42 AM

I forget what the original topic was..oh, yeah...can a small salon survive? I think anyone can survive if they have great customer service, update their equipment, advertise to their customer base often...and continue to keep your store fresh and visable in your market. I do not believe just because you have a big salon or more than one location you somehow are horrable at customer service!
I think there are great salons out there that have more than one location and have great customer service and great equipment. I can tell you a mistake salon owners make 90% of the time...they do not look as advertising as an investment and they are slow to bring in new beds... I think the new breed of salons will do wonders and I think salons with great service and an intimate atmosphere will always have a place!

_________________
Any Advice given please consider the size of your market![ This Message was edited by: DWhite6872 on 2005-02-28 20:01 ]

JeffinKC 02-25-2005 01:26 AM

Not sure who censored my last post....probably the dearly departed..... but anyway as I was saying. This topic isn't about signature lines however yours does advertise a booth that you sell and not your salon as you implied earlier. It is simply an ongoing attempt by you to get free advertising. My statement is my opinion and as I've said I will remove mine as soon as you remove yours......now can we get back to the topic.

DWhite6872 02-25-2005 02:01 AM

JeffinKc...this topic went a couple of different directions...but what do you think...can the small owner survive? The tanning industry is changing...who makes it? What can a small salon owner do to survive? Do you believe that only small local shops provide customer service? I am sorry to put this all on you Jeff...but I think you will tell it straight and give a new view...

misslori 02-25-2005 12:31 PM

I sure hope they can survive, 'cause I'm one of 'em!! No chains or "mega salons" in my area . . .yet.

ramcat 02-25-2005 12:53 PM

The main facts are that the smaller salon owners, and I mean the one salon owner, is usually present and provides individual customer service. This is the purest form of service as it is the owner talking directly to the customer. Addressing the customers concerns themself, instead of a teenager. The single salon owner is at the salon doing the ordering, the cleaning and ensures that everything is as it should be.

The multi-salon owner is absent from their salons 1 portion of the time, depending upon the number of salons owned. (i.e. 2 salons = 1/2 day in each; 3 salons = 1/3 day in each, etc.) they cannot keep up with the customers, nor are they present to handle the customer concerns. They hire teenagers, or hire a "Manager" that is still a hired employee. If the owner is lucky, the employees won't steal them blind or give away the tans to every relative they have.

If things go wrong, the single owner is there to handle it, the multi-salon owner will get there eventually or have to try to handle it over the phone.

In my humble opinion, I think that the single salon owner will survive just fine (or I hope so as I am among them). Providing that 'extra' service by being present will go further than having someone else there and hoping that the beds are properly cleaned, towels cleaned and not just refolded, etc...etc....etc....


Neon Beach 02-25-2005 12:59 PM

Small salon owners can only hold out for so long being friendly, it's the $$ available that will make the difference in the end. Sorry to say.

Grandpa 02-25-2005 03:19 PM

Neon, do you mean the money available in reserve or just plain money in the bank. I guess my main focus is in a small market, approx. 15k, can enough money be made to live on. I'm talking 35k and up.

JeffinKC 02-25-2005 03:50 PM

I used to be in the video business and it was hard as an independent to compete with Blockbuster but not impossible.

There is a difference in friendly service and personal service and personal service is what chains and franchises are lacking. Large independent salons still do well with this but the bigger you get the harder it is.

Diversification, grass roots marketing, and customer retention is what you have to focus on.

Diversification....It may be adding HP and Sunless or serices and products like massage and swimwear. You need to see what the large chains/franchises in your area are doing and offer what they don't. Develop a niche to serve that the others don't or can't.

Advertising......
This is tough because you are competing with companies that have advertising budgets many times the size of yours. You have to try more cost effective ways to get your name out like, going door to door with flyers, visiting local businesses, working with other companies to cross promote.

Customer retention....
This is why I think EFT is important because it is hard for them to try the new chain in town if they are locked in with you. Other cusatomer loyalty programs like, punch cards, referals, and frequent tanner discounts help to keep them coming back as well.

As more chains and franchises move into metropolitan areas the suburbs and more rural areas may become more lucrative for the independent salon.

CentralVA 02-25-2005 05:16 PM

yes. in a niche market. must over service the client, be involved heavily in the community, and price point a dollar or two cheaper per package type against larger competitors.


Neon Beach 02-25-2005 06:15 PM

Small salons that are "paid" for and established will have more staying power. Be friendly all you want. Reserves of cash or credit will also be needed.

JeffinKC 02-25-2005 06:33 PM

Neon, I know you don't believe in high pressure or sunless or special promotions, or anything for that matter. Maybe if you broaden your horizons a little you might need less cash reserves and credit because you will generate more revenue.

Neon Beach 02-25-2005 06:48 PM

That's where you are wrong, I just don't believe in buying equipment your market won't support or having "crazy" giveaways in the wrong markets.

That stuff may and has worked for many others, but you have to consider who your buying public is, and the types of tanners your market.

-----------------------

For the best spray booth on the market
www.celebritytan.com



Neon Beach 02-25-2005 06:57 PM

Kansas City

General Information:
City Population: 1,776,062*
*Population corresponds to Metropolitan Statistical Area or Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Age:
Median Age: 35.2

80.2% are Caucasian 51% are female

Now do you think that a City with say 65,000 or less can pull the same numbers as the place above?

JeffinKC 02-25-2005 07:01 PM

Your glass is always have empty isn't it? Your market will support this equipment if you understand how to sell it. The market I am in is middle class and it is sometimes a hard sell but it can be done. People are all the same....they may sometimes be conservative but are willing to pay more if you sell the benefits and value.

"Crazy" giveaways are not crazy if they get people in your salon to try and also buy into the equipment you are so skeptical of.

Neon Beach 02-25-2005 07:10 PM

But you see, you don't know my market or the types of tanners we have here. No one is going to give me $30 a pop to tan in a $50,000 HP unit. They won't pay $2 to use an upgrade bed. You on the other hand obviously have enough population to draw from that you will eventually get these types. That's all I have been trying to say. I have nothing against any of these pcs. of equipment, I'd love to have them, but they will not be supported here.

JeffinKC 02-25-2005 07:35 PM

As most uf us understand tanning is based on convienance and the almost two million people living in Kansas City are not all "my market". I happen to be in a suburb of the city that is certainly not one of the more populated areas of the city.

When I added my first VHR bed many years ago I was worried that no one would ever pay for a 20k bed and at first it was a struggle to get the upgrades but it has gotten much easier with time and the understanding of how to sell high end beds.

If you never take the risk you will never reap the rewards.

Neon Beach 02-25-2005 07:42 PM

I agree, but I know the people here, as I said, I can't get an extra $1.87 plus tax for my larger bed. Upgrades units would be hard to support here, it really is a sad thing.

Here's a good example, WalMart was the "anchor" for the local mall, they just opened a new 120,000 foot store about 1/2 from the mall. The mall is now dead, dead! No one goes there...... This is a WalMart town, and with it comes the WalMart mentality.

totaleclipse1 02-25-2005 11:45 PM

True, but I still feel that once they go elsewhere, most of them come back...Service is the key....Its like getting a manicure, your hair cut, its a service, its skin care and when people realize that they will stick with you !

Neon Beach 02-26-2005 12:11 AM

Not when the percieved value is they same, but they can get if for far less. You are fooling yourself.


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